Published: September 26, 2006
Mastro Auctions’ August 16–18 auction closed at $11.4 million, generating outstanding results to the tune of several new record-setting prices.
According to Doug Allen, president of Mastro Auctions, setting new records is more a company rule than an exception. “In every auction, we document items that have sold for unprecedented prices,” said Allen. “You may only hear of the really big ticket items because they naturally attract the most attention, but we’re raising the bar in the industry on a whole host of items every time we go to bat.”
One of the top performers and a new record price holder from the Mastro Auctions’ sports division is a 1910 E93 Standard Caramel SGC-graded complete set of 30 cards. The collection of cards sold for $327,719. Allen explains that the record price represents not only a precedent for this series of cards, but also for the baseball card collecting industry in general. “This baseball card assembly is not just the second highest priced ever sold, it is the most valuable set ever sold at public auction,” said Allen.
A Lou Gehrig game-used bat produced another record-breaking hit in the auction. It now ranks as the most expensive Gehrig bat ever sold at public auction. The historically significant bat, which sold for $184,236, is the only one known to exist that can be definitively placed in the legendary baseball player’s hands during the fabled 1927 Yankees season. “No other Gehrig bat comes close in terms of value or historical importance,” said Allen. “Only two side written Gehrig bats exist and this one dates from the most prolific year of his career.”
The record-breaking realm was not limited to sports. The new comic books and comic art division also scored. The original 20 pages of Steve Ditko artwork for the Amazing Spider-Man #31 fetched $202,668, a public auction record for the comic collecting industry. “Our goal was to come out swinging with our first comic books and comic art sale,” said Chris Porter, who heads the division. “Obviously we’ve proven we have the right stuff to connect with the market.”
In a move that Porter says was developed to provide ultimate fairness to all bidders, the artwork was offered as individual pages and as a collection. Because the total of all the individual pages topped the collection bid, the pages were sold individually. “This type of bidding does make the process more democratic,” said Porter. We do it for high-end baseball sets like the E93’s in this auction and it has worked well. It’s our way of looking out for all our buyers.”
Other sports top sellers were a Babe Ruth signed game-used 1920 H&B bat personally obtained by Buck Weaver selling for $167,107; a 1957 Ted Williams signed complete Boston Red Sox game worn home uniform at $96,768; and a 1941 play ball #71 Joe DiMaggio, PSA mint 9, that realized $65,493.
Top Americana lots included a 1938 R68 Gum, Inc “Horrors of War” original artwork collection (135 different) that achieved a record price at $117,623, a 1907 Saint Gaudens high relief wire edge coin for $72,207, a 1940 R145 Gum Inc “Superman” PSA-graded complete set (72) of multi-colored cards for $43,502 and an 1802 Thomas Jefferson handwritten signed letter as president relating to the imminent Louisiana Purchase for $25,190.
Fine arts highlights included a circa 1905 Tiffany Studios “Geranium” table lamp for $48,918, an N.C. Wyeth 1934 design for the cover of “Anthony Adverse,” a watercolor and gouache on gessoed panel that sold for $35,544 and a Tiffany Studios large geometric table lamp for $30,227.
All prices include the buyer’s premium. Mastro Auctions’ next auction is scheduled for December. For information, www.mastroauctions.com or 630-472-1200.
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